Holiday flights might not be as anemic as expected, as Americans apparently are emphasizing quality time over quarantine time.
Airlines are reporting robust holiday-season flight bookings and project that ticket sales will not be as adversely affected by increases in coronavirus cases as they were in the summer. Third-quarter flight revenue increased, with bookings continuing to increase into the fourth quarter.
“Pandemic fatigue is absolutely promoting holiday air travel, and that includes flight bookings,” The Vacationer co-founder Eric Jones told Fox News. “Many people have been in quarantine and away from friends and family for many months, so they are willing to take a calculated risk and get on an airplane with proper precautions during this year’s holiday season.”
United’s bookings have “flatlined a little bit,” CEO Scott Kirby told CNBC, but he added that he expected holiday flights to be in demand.
Allegiant Air Chief Marketing Officer Scott DeAngelo told USA Today that travelers are keeping their awareness of the pandemic and desire to travel separate. The airline’s earnings reports showed a 50% increase in gross bookings from the third quarter to the fourth quarter.
“Customers believe the situation may once again be getting worse, but their leisure travel activity or their travel booking intent remains largely unchanged,” DeAngelo said.
Airlines’ coronavirus testing also has increased with bookings. American Airlines announced that it is expanding its flight passenger testing to Jamaica and the Bahamas with Hawaii, Belize, Grenada and St. Lucia on Nov. 16.
Airlines obviously want your business, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to issue a warning that “staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”
If you fly, pack your mask – and your patience.